I saw The Ultimate Suburban Survivalist Guide sitting on the shelf at my library and decided to see what it was about. As you all know, I’ve been following all the needless gun deaths in the news, and Nancy Lanza, the mother of Newtown mass murderer Adam Lanza, was a “prepper.” She thought the world was coming to an end, which was why she owned so many guns. Much of the gun debate these days gets derailed by people of a similar mentality, people who fear that the government or marauding bands of coordinated mass boogeymen are going to attack them and that they therefore need access to assault weapons. So it was with that in mind that I picked up this book: what is going through the minds of the people who are making this country less safe? But believe it or not, I was disappointed that Brodrick isn’t a crazy–LOTS of what he writes makes perfect sense. He is not an extremist (well, that probably depends on how you define extremist!, but rather someone who is preparing for occasional loss of services and safety. He tackles his problem from the perspective of someone with family.
The key belief that guides this book is the notion that any calamity that takes place will be temporary. When you “prep,” you can prep for a complete shakeout of society, but most likely, Brodrick writes, any setbacks will be temporary, such as the shakeout that people saw during Hurricane Katrina and Sandy (the book was written before Sandy). Therefore, it might be best to prep with this in mind. It’s also possible that no calamity will affect you in your lifetime, therefore it’s best also to make decisions that will better your lot if nothing happens. It’s best to find a balance and be prudent.
He breaks it down into sections: money/finances; preparation (water and food); health, home, and education (including medicine, personal safety, and keeping your kids educated and entertained), and how to evacuate if you have to.
Much of his advice centers around the happy medium. He advises being long on precious metals since they’ll always be worth something, even if we see a drastic devaluation of paper money. He writes about how to buy gold, how to store gold, and how to invest your money so that it grows (which is helpful if there is no social upheaval). He writes about how to store a few months worth of food, and how to purify water if utilities go out. He shows how to calculate how much food and water you’ll need. He writes about the kinds of medicine to stock, how to protect your home, and how to educate your kids. He writes about transportation and how to “get out of Dodge” if the shit hits the fan. He talks about how to avoid getting your guns confiscated and when you know you need to leave.
I thought this book was great–very entertaining, and very informative. I especially appreciated the common sense approach. And yes, he does talk a lot about guns. This book was written before Newtown, and even then, he basically had the same advice that I’ve been sharing (with the caveat that Brodrick unconditionally recommends a gun for every adult!). If you live in the suburbs, a high caliber rifle has no place in your home. A high caliber rifle bullet will go through a wall and could kill your neighbor or his kids. This is not something you want on your conscience. Brodrick recommends a 12 gauge shotgun because it has a maximum range of around 100 yards (although it can still be lethal past this, so don’t do anything stupid), and the clack clack of a cocking shotgun is usually enough to scare away people. As he mentions humorously, most robbers and thieves are lazy (or else they’d do something productive), and if you’re a challenge or could pose a health risk (i.e. the buckshot emanating from your rifle), they’d rather go elsewhere. He recommends NOT stocking too much ammo, as guns themselves usually function best as a deterrent.
The only area where I couldn’t see myself somewhat following his advice was on the food. The problem with stockpiling food is that there usually is an expiration date, so you do have to finish all that dried product. He recommends rotating it. I’d love to rotate it, but I think it might be hard for me to eat dried product if there’s fresh product available!
Check this book out. There’s also a lot of advice on green living, solar panels, books, and bike transportation.